November 21, 1944, Leyte

November 21, 1944, Leyte, Philippines

I have seen some of the more recent issues of Time describing the Philippine invasion. We learned many things about the fight that we had not known previously. They were probably written by some correspondent from the comfort and safety of a battleship. It was very interesting to know that [General] MacArthur had gone ashore in a pair of freshly pressed trousers and that he had surveyed the situation while smoking on his corn cob pipe. Some of the correspondents, like Howard Handleman are O.K. They really get up pretty close to to the front lines and see some of the things that are happening.

One of our guerilla friends went to town to visit some of his friends and promised to bring back some tuba, which is an intoxicating beverage made out of coconut sprouts. We were really anticipating a celebration, until they returned with the sad news that none was available. Oh, well; some time I’m hoping to be able to spend a few days with the guerillas at their mountain retreat. Some of the boys have been there and enjoyed some delicious caribao steak, roast pig, gaby (a root tasting like potato), camotes (like sweet potatoes) appetizingly served on fresh green banana leaves. Incidentally, you might try a large banana leaf as a raincoat. It’s a trick I have observed the Filipinos use and is quite effective . . . [¶] Well, its [sic] time for chow. Ah, that delicious canned corn beef hash.

The Sixth Army ordered the Seventh Division to assemble in the Baybay-Damulaan area on the west coast of the island. This was accomplished by the end of November. From Baybay the Division marched over rugged terrain and arrived at Ipil on December 10th. Three days later the Division participated in an attack against the Japanese 26th Division. Following two months of mop up operations the regiment marched to Tacloban where it boarded troopships waiting to carry them to Okinawa.